I’ll miss you at a distance.

(Written last July 11, 2016)

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Photo credit: favim.com

I miss you and distance is the only thing that allows me to do so.

You see, even if I believe in fighting to stay in your life, I couldn’t find the willpower to fight against my worries. I don’t have the strength to reach out to you, to ask you how you’ve been or to just simply break the barrier between your green dot and mine, and start a short conversation. Maybe, it’s because I wish, deep in my heart, that we connected so deeply that not talking wouldn’t matter. And maybe, secretly, I also don’t want to seem so desperate, clinging onto you.

In my head, I’ve drafted the rules of closure and goodbye, and rule number two is to stay away long enough to miss and be missed. That’s what I’ve been doing all these months, I guess, with every unreplied message and missed call. It works in my head, trust me, and this rule allows me to keep to my thoughts and keep what we had alive in my mind.

I believe that once a farewell has been said, whether it just happened or it had to happen, it must be respected. It’s a both a restriction and comfort. For one, I would no longer worry about messing up the things I say and I would no longer panic about the relationship that was bound to get rocky somewhere. In turn, I won’t hear from you and I would have to stop the urges to tell you how my day went.

You’ve become my far away star. I wish on you every night and miss you when I remember how warm you were by my side. But then again, nowadays, I am more familiar at gazing at you, scrolling through my newsfeed and seeing your photos, and hearing about you from common friends. I am strangely relaxed by this sad comfort.

Still, some days, I don’t know why I do this or why this is worth doing in the first place. The sidelines can get lonely and staying by the walls can feel cold and suffocating at times. But, I also don’t know exactly how to break the silence and this is the only way I’ve come to learn how to think of you.

And so, concealed in messages I don’t send and in attempts to contact you after dreaming about seeing you again, I miss you at a distance.

In my heart, I know that not talking could seem like I’m brushing you off or that I don’t care anymore. I am fully aware that losing touch could mean losing you. But, I just couldn’t wire myself to suddenly open my soul to you, because, trust me, if you see inside me and discover how much I miss you and how sad missing you makes me, you’d be scared. You’d be overwhelmed with the sea that is my emotions and I’d never want that.

I miss you in silence and I’ll miss you like this. This is cowardly but this is my kind of safe.

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21 Lessons for the Twenty-One Year Old

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Going home to Lipa, the weekend after my birthday

To me, turning twenty-one is both a big deal and something I can shrug off nonchalantly.

In my head, twenty-one means that you have had a year to practice this whole adulting thing, and that at this point, you should’ve at least learned something already. You should have had re-rooted somewhere else and have figured out a bunch of tricks here and there to survive and even have fun. And predominantly, it’s the idea that from this point on, you can’t use ignorance as an excuse for messing things up.

So yeah. Turning twenty-one should be overwhelming to me.

But then, at twenty-one, I found myself not really dwelling on these emotions, fears as much as I did the years before. I wasn’t anxious about my birthday. I didn’t count down. I guess, at twenty-one, so much has been going on for me to even think about it, that I could just let it pass and be. It’s the most underwhelmed milestone of my life yet, if I’m being honest.

I realize, twenty-one has left me with a sense of maturity. I think and feel differently; I probably have been thinking and feeling differently for a while now. Reflecting on it, it actually feels cool to be the person I am today. I am happy about myself, especially because of the lessons I learned along the way:

  1. Sleep facing the sky. Someone told me that this sleeping position alleviates back pain and corrects the spinal posture at night. Your back will start to hurt more often and even if you’re still young, you have to learn to take care of yourself in little ways.
  2. Be less afraid of small talk. Conversations involve more listening than talking. You’d be surprised how many people need your silence.
  3. Text your parents even if you’re not necessarily a text person and you don’t really text them before. This is the point of your lives where you’d start seeing each other less. Just let them know how you are from time to time to ease their worries.
  4. Break your routine. Surprise yourself. From now on, you’d be in-charge of a bigger chunk of your life, including your happiness. Make yourself happy instead of waiting for destiny to work for you.
  5. Make decisions regarding matters of the heart. Don’t be pushed into implied situations. You don’t have to settle for someone you don’t really like. Likewise, you don’t have to play stalemate when you find someone you can’t imagine leaving. People might think that 21 is young still, but that doesn’t mean you can’t understand your feelings and commit to them.
  6. Shake a hand firmly. In business, this can indicate dominance. In life, this is just you being sure of yourself and reaching out.
  7. Reserve a pair of silly socks for Wednesdays. Hide them by wearing a pair of boots or closed shoes. It helps to have a funny secret when you’re half-way through the week.
  8. Pursue your dreams in ways you can. To be a writer, you write. To be a dancer, you dance. It starts with something simple.
  9. Have faith. Whether it be on a divine being or on a principle, believe in something.
  10. Treat mistakes as a learning curve. Here’s a new motto I’ve been telling myself nowadays: “It’s okay to make mistakes the first time. Learn from it.”
  11. Date yourself. Eat dinner in a fancy restaurant alone. Watch the last full show alone. Travel alone. You, yourself can be really good company.
  12. Try not to splurge just because you’ve started earning your own money. Expenses work differently when you’re working and when you’re studying. The money you own is the money you use to sustain yourself. If what you want isn’t within budget, don’t make it fit.
  13. Determine your non-negotiable expenses and allot money for it. Know which need you have to prioritize and set aside a part of your budget for it. Then, no matter how tempting, make sure you spend it for nothing else but that.
  14. Make an effort to get in touch. Talk to people that you want to be part of your day. At a phase of your life where not all your friends are in the same classroom, you should make an effort to keep those you want to keep.
  15. Talk to people older than you. Your parents, your aunts and uncles, and even your senior officemates, aren’t there to just lecture you about life. When you spend time to just chat, you can find that you enjoy their company and that you appreciate hearing a lifetime’s worth of stories.
  16. Dress up or down for yourself and for yourself only. Indulge in days when you want to feel like a princess, a diva and even an ugly duckling. Be comfortable expressing how you feel or how you’d want your day to go through your clothes or make-up. (Make an exception if you have to dress up for work.)
  17. Arm yourself with a red lipstick (or a comfort thing of your choice). Sometimes, it’s easier to believe that other things can make you better, braver and bolder than to believe that you are just that by yourself. And that’s okay.
  18. Clean your room. This chore can be a pleasant surprise, a way to ground yourself again when you find that your life is getting too messy.
  19. Find your center. Determine one thing you are sure of and will be sure of when things go awry. It helps to have something to hold go.
  20. Forgive yourself. You’re a grown up, yes, but you still have a lot to learn. You won’t get everything right the first time. That’s what experiences are for. Failing doesn’t mean that you’re a failure. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
  21. Tell the joke that you don’t think people will find funny. Take a risk.